1 February 2010
Yesterday’s announcement by the Israeli Ministry of Justice not to indict anyone in the March 2009 shooting and critically injuring of American activist Tristan Anderson at a non-violent demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni’ilin was based on a “gravely negligent” investigation by the Israeli police, says Israeli attorney Michel Sfard, who represents Tristan and his family.
“We were notified two weeks ago that Israel decided to close this case, and our subsequent study of the investigation file led us to call this press conference,” noted Sfard, who met with local and international journalists in Jerusalem at the office of the Alternative Information Center (AIC).
“The investigation of the Judea and Samaria District Police into the shooting of Tristan Anderson was gravely negligent,” stated Sfard. He noted that the police investigation team did not even interview the officers located in the center of Ni’ilin, one of three companies of border police operating in the village that day and the ones almost certain to be directly involved in shooting Anderson, according to the ballistic evidence. “I am embarrassed to say that the investigation team did not even go to Ni’ilin, the scene of the shooting,” added Sfard. “If a Jewish man had been shot and wounded, there is no doubt that the entire village would be under curfew and Israel would do everything possible to investigate.”
Seven Palestinian and international eyewitnesses to Israel’s shooting of Tristan conclusively demonstrated that Tristan was neither masked nor throwing rocks, as the Israeli police claim. Attorney Sfard and Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack, a long-time friend of Tristan, showed photographs from the village, illustrating the impossibility of Israel’s description of the shooting.
Sfard will now file an administrative appeal with the Israeli Attorney General, demanding that the investigation be reopened. “There is little chance that the Attorney General will not accept this appeal, at least in order to interrogate the border police officers from the central command,” believes Sfard.
The Anderson family wants Israel to take responsibility for shooting Tristan, which means both bringing the people involved to justice and helping to take care of Tristan, who will likely require assistance for the remainder of his life. In addition to demanding a thorough criminal investigation and appropriate indictments, the Anderson family is further filing a civil lawsuit in the case.